BBT: Quirky?

This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

To answer this question I had to check my Library Thing catalogue to refresh my memory. I seem to remember the normal characters more than the strange ones.

Bleak House: I just read this and already forgot the weirdos in it. Just about everyone is quirky. Jon Jarndyce is quirky but lovable. He's very giving but when he hears bad news he hides in 'the growlery' and complains the wind's in the east. Harold Skimpole borrows from friends pretending to know nothing of money since he's 'a child'. A most annoying character. Mr Guppy in love with Esther until she gets sick and loses her looks. He's a bit of a fool.

Anne of Green Gables: Anne Shirley falls into the quirky category. Her over active imagination gets her into trouble but nothing gets her down.

Master and Commander: Dr Stephen Maturin is a genius but his strange ideas raise eyebrows. He also has odd habits like carrying meat in his pocket and living like a slob. Captain Aubrey doesn't have much going on upstairs unless it's during battle. He has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth or causing offense without realizing it.

For the most part, I like quirky characters. It gives them life. I think most people have some quirky qualities, so why not fictional people too?

Paperwhites: Wordless

The Good Liar: Review

I had some preconceived notions about the spy/thriller genre: gadgets, guns, cars, machismo and bad puns. So I was pleasantly surprised when I read Laura Caldwell's The Good Liar.

Kate is devastated when her husband leaves her. After months of moping, Kate's friend Liza sets her up with a suave older man, Michael. Before she knows it, she's swept off her feet, married and living in Quebec. While Michael is busy opening his new business, the Twilight Club, Kate wonders how well she knows her new husband.

Michael is an assassin for a clandestine organization called the Trust. An organization dedicated to keeping the United States safe from terrorism by any means necessary. Michael is determined to leave his past behind and live a normal life with Kate, but can he ever really be out?

The Good Liar was an interesting departure for me. It was fast paced and an easy read. I found it hard to put down. I don't know if an organization like this exists but I found it eerie how easily an organization meant to protect people could become used by men for greed.

I had a few issues with too much backstory, but that didn't affect my enjoyment of the story. I also thought the end wrapped up a bit too quickly. Other than that it was a fun read.


The Scarlet Letter: A Review

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is probably his best known work. Hester Prynne is the wearer of the scarlet A, ornately sewn by her own hand. The letter is punishment for the crime of adultery in Massachusetts during Colonial times. Hester's husband has been missing and presumed dead but she's born a child by another man. She refuses to name the man responsible and carries the burden of their sin on herself.

For years, Hester is shunned by the community, although they seek her out for her work as a seamstress. She lives alone on the edge of the village with her strange child, Pearl. She meekly endures the stares and jeers of the villagers until she becomes something of legend. A ghost who walks among them.

In the meantime, she shares the secrets of two men. One slowly killing himself with guilt, the other bent on revenge.

Hester is such an interesting character. Hester's treatment is unfair and she knows it yet she puts up with it. In her own way, she punishes the villagers by not hiding her shame. She wears the letter openly, refusing to hide it. She's almost shoving it in their faces. I think it reminds them of their own sins.

Hawthorne writes in third person and in such a way that he seems almost speculating on what's happening. I only started to understand Hester when she speaks to another character and she reveals her true feelings. Until then I was only guessing what she felt. It's quite brilliant.

Although I recommend reading The Scarlet Letter, do yourself a favour and skip the introduction "The Custom House". Tor-ture. It's mostly the ramblings of Hawthorne's politics. The only thing important was his claim to have found the "A" and some documents while working at the custom house.


Eva's Excellent Meme

Stephanie tagged me for this meme, an invention of Eva (A Striped Armchair). She asks some really interesting questions:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

The Book Thief
. I know it's good but it scares me.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Becky from Vanity Fair (she'd find us some trouble), Jamie Fraser from Outlander (to get us out of said trouble), and Stephen Maturin from Master & Commander (in case we need a doctor plus I just really like him).

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

The Wings of a Dove. If I had to read that again, I will actually die.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

I don't think I have. Maybe Lord of the Rings since I saw the movies.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

Again I can't think of any. I know my memory isn't great but I don't think it's gotten to that point!

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)

Not a big reader...that's tough. Probably To Kill A Mockingbird because I can't of anyone who didn't like it.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

That would be Russian. I'm sure I've missed the point of a lot of Russian translated books like War & Peace.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread one a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Jane Eyre. It's got everything I like: the underdog ugly girl who finds true love with an intelligent aristocrat plus a hint of mystery.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I now have a list a mile long of authors I want to try like Neil Gaiman and Colleen Gleason. I'm more willing to try a genre I don't call my own.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Here goes. I walk through the French doors into a large room flooded with light from two floor to ceiling windows. Oriental rugs are strewn over the hardwood floors. Wingbacked chairs are nestled into every corner plus the one in front of the fireplace. Each chair has an afghan and an ottoman. A rolled topped desk hides the computer that tells me where every book is no matter where that might be (my bedroom, under the couch). A couple of Monets brighten up the place.

Hardbacks line the bookcases against the walls. Like the windows they are floor to ceiling and rolling ladders let me get to them all. Paperbacks belong in the free standing, waist high bookcases in the middle of the room.

Behind one of the bookcases, is a secret environmentally controlled room (like the Vatican's in the DaVinci Code) where all the first editions of Jane Austen, the Brontes, George Eliot are kept. Plus, 'lost' manuscripts from those authors. You can visit but you have to wear those little cotton gloves.

This meme is spreading like wildfire so I won't tag anyone specifically. If you haven't done it yet, give it a try.

Booking Through Thursday: Huh?

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

And, folks–Becca was nice enough to nominate Booking Through Thursday for a Blogger’s Choice Award–while you’re here, why don’t you head over and vote for us, too. Because, a vote for BTT is a vote for all of us who play each week!

Congrats to the ladies who host Booking Through Thursday for the nomination!

Hmmm... This is a tough question. There are those books that although some people know of them, there is always a few people who have no idea what you're talking about.

Local books, on the other hand, don't get as much exposure as the latest bestseller by Stephen King and unless someone's 'from here' they've never heard of them. I'm thinking of books like My Grandfather's Cape Breton, and Bluenose Ghosts. The first one is reminisces of a boy's summer living with his Grandfather and the second is the stories collected by folklorist Helen Creighton.

Other books I've enjoyed that people probably never of are Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen. Now I'm going to snoop on the other BTT participants. My answer maybe adjusted ;)

Wordless Wednesday: Mourning Dove

On the Bandwagon: Weird Meme

I saw this meme at Fraternity of Dreamers. It's a weird one but it'll give you an interesting view of my world:

What kind of soap is in your shower right now? Ivory Body Wash and Dove Bar Soap (with the little nibblets in it).

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? No but I do have a Pomelo.

What would you change about your living room? Hmm. Well, it's new so not much. Maybe some bookshelves.

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty at the moment.

What is in your fridge? Um, food. (duh)

White or wheat bread? White.

What is on top of your refrigerator? Tetley Tea Collectibles.

What color or design is on your shower curtain? Aqua blue (Is that a colour?)

How many plants are in your home? Eight relatively healthy ones.

Is your bed made right now? Yes, always.

Comet or Soft Scrub? Comet. I don't know what Soft Scrub is.

Is your closet organized?
Yes, I organized it yesterday.

Can you describe your flashlight? I found it yesterday. It's electric blue.

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Glass

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? Nope.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered? No, we had to de-clutter it to fit the car in.

Curtains or blinds?

How many pillows do you sleep with? One, but I have more for decorative purposes.

Do you sleep with any lights on at night?

How often do you vacuum? Every second day. I'm anti-dirt.

Standard toothbrush or electric? Electric.

What color is your toothbrush? White and blue (I think).

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?
I have a mat inside to catch the snow and mud.

What is in your oven right now? Nothing.

Is there anything under your bed?
Maybe a lost sock or slipper.

Chore you hate doing the most? Cleaning the bathroom.

What retro items are in your home? I think my husband has some albums.

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?
Yes, the third bedroom.

How many mirrors are in your home?
6. That seems like a really high number!

What color are your walls? Mostly some shade of beige.

What does your home smell like right now?
Coffee. I'm an addict (of coffee, I mean).

Favorite candle scent? Grandma's Kitchen

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Bread and Butter.

What color is your favorite Bible? I have one bible. It's white.

Ever been on your roof? No and I hate when anyone's up there.

Do you own a stereo? Yes.

How many TVs do you have? 3. A big one and 2 smaller ones.

How many house phones?
4 working. My husband seems to buy them just because they're on sale.

Do you have a housekeeper? Oh, yeah. She's here at 7am everyday. I meet her in the mirror.

What style do you decorate in? Sort of traditional contemporary. Is that a style?

Do you like solid colors or prints in furniture? Solid, in the neutral tones.

Is there a smoke detector in your home?

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip? The photo albums.

Give it a try yourselves!

Larry's Party: A Review

Most of Carol Shields work that I've read can be described as "women's fiction", meaning that the protagonists are women. Larry's Party is a not unpleasant change from the norm.

Larry's Party follows Larry Weller through twenty years of his life (1977-1997). These are some pretty important years. Larry is married twice, has a kid, moves to another country, and finds his life's work. He starts the novel a young guy, twenty-six years old, and ready to take on the world. He's got a good job as a florist in a high end flower shop and a pretty girlfriend.

Next time we see Larry he's a newlywed to Dorrie who's also pregnant. They're on their honeymoon in England and Larry's about to find the love of his life: mazes. Hedgemazes to be precise. He becomes obsessed with growing his own in the front yard of their Winnipeg home. Although his obsession ruins his marriage, it leads to greater life changes for Larry. He leaves the flower shop, moves to Chicago and builds mazes for a living.

Larry's Party is the title of the last chapter. He plans a dinner party for his friends, new girlfriend and two ex-wives. It could be a success or a total disaster. A main theme in the book is the maze and by the end we see the significance, "And where you start from, there you end."

Larry just kind of bobs along in life; accidents here and there change his destiny. Throughout the book he complains of being ordinary. Maybe he is just a regular guy, but I don't know why he complains so much. He's got one of the most interesting jobs I've ever heard of and he loves what he does. A lot of people aren't that lucky. I think we all have those days though. Recently, I woke up and thought of all the usual things I had to do and didn't want to do them. I was bored. Then I thought, "Well, one of us could be sick, out of work, getting a divorce. That wouldn't be the usual but it would suck." I got up and stopped complaining. Ordinary is fine.

It's an interesting book. Told in the third person, Shields' smart-assiness shines through every word. I'm sure most of the metaphors went right over my head but I felt I was understanding the message even if I can't express it in words. I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading. I can't say I loved it as much as The Stone Diaries but I did enjoy it. It's an interesting look at men at the end of the Twentieth Century.


Book 3 for The Canadian Book Challenge.

Booking Through Thursday: Let's Review

This week’s question is suggested by Puss Reboots:

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? I've seen bad reviews for books I love so I don't always make reading decisions based on them. If a reviewer raves about a book, it will peek my interest and I'll find out more about it. As for bad reviews, one or two I can understand but if a book consistently gets the thumbs down I probably won't pick it up.

If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If I really want to read it then I will. Like I said, there are books I love that I've seen people hate. And it's funny, I've read reviews where a reviewer raves about it and the next person rants. It's all a matter of personal taste.

If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try? I'm still not sure about The Book Thief. Nazis and Death? Everyone I know who reads it seems to love it. I'm not one who only reads sunny, happy books but that period in history is terrible and thinking of the inhumanity depresses me. Still, the positive reviews are overwhelming and although I might be the last person in the world to read it, I probably will.

Ferrets, Florists and Good Writing

The Cassie Edwards debacle is being beat to death, I know but I just had to post on this one more time. I was trying not to be too judgemental about her...err... talent, since I never read her books. However, there are enough snippets online now to get a sense of her style.

One of the writers she stole from is Paul Tolme, a journalist who writes about conservationism. Paul wrote about his experience of being plundered by Edwards in this article. You really should read it. He's such a good sport about it. In the article, Tolme provides the scene in Edwards' novel where his words are used. The couple, after making love, discuss black footed ferrets. It's weird to say the least. These two have just had a passionate night and they cap it off with some scientific banter on ferret research and, I kid you not, land bridge theory. It's 1850. Tolme himself says it's "clunky and awkward". If I had written it, it would have gone something like this:

"Oh look, a ferret. How adorable."
"And tasty too." He reaches for his rifle.
"Wonderful." She stretches lazily. "I worked up quite an appetite last night." Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Tolme gives the excerpt from his article on the plight of the black footed ferret in South Dakota and it's not bad. Probably because it's what you expect an article about ferrets to be, information on what they eat, where they live, what they do all day. That's not what you'd expect in a romance novel. Edwards tries to bonk readers over the head with facts. Maybe it's in an effort to look knowledgeable, but it just reads awful.

A complete 180 is Carol Shields Larry's Party which I'm currently reading. There is a scene where Larry is thinking about flowers. Larry, a florist, starts his workday buying flowers from a wholesaler. It's a fact laden scene and in another author's hands dull as dishwater, but I was riveted. It works for a lot of reasons. First, we're in Larry's head, no doubt about it. These are his thoughts. I can see Larry walking around touching the leaves, smelling the flowers and this is never said. I can just see it. It also says something about Larry. He knows his stuff and he takes pride in knowing it. I also know that Larry is trying not to think of his unhappy home life. Just before this scene Larry is thinking about how his wife is too busy for him. All this flower stuff is a distraction. The final thing that got me was one sentence on roses. Larry doesn't care for roses but brides love them: "Winnipeg roses originate in southern Ontario, where they've got acres of them under glass." They're popular but ordinary. That says something about Larry. He hates the ordinary and his life is as ordinary as it comes.

Where Edwards uses facts as filler, Shields uses them to say something about her character. That's good writing.

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Wordless Wednesday: Dashing Through the Snow

Odds & Ends

As I get ready to watch Persuasion, the first of the Jane Austen marathon on PBS, I had a couple of things to bring to your attention:

*1st Becky's Mini-Austen Challenge is underway. Hope you have your books picked out for that.
*2nd Dana from Once Upon a Book is hosting Dana's Austenology Challenge. She'll be reading the 6 Big Ones from Austen January through April. She's creating a Yahoo Group. Please check it out!
* Speaking of Becky: She's hosting this month's Bookworm Carnival. The theme is Best of 2007. I hope you take a look and see what everyone loved about 2007.

Booking Through Thursday: May I Introduce

Booking Through Thursday

  1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
  2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I've said this before and I'll say it again- I'm cheap. Actually, I was broke when I found some of my favorite authors. My love of the classics started because I was young and light in the pocket. I loved to buy books but new releases were just too expensive. When I went to the bookstore, I'd buy Wordsworth Classics at $3 a pop. How can you go wrong?! I quickly became a fan of 19th century female writers like Austen, Eliot and the Brontes. I still count them as my favorites.

I did have one great surprise in the 1990's. My aunt was a member of the Book of the Month Club and passed a number of them to me. A huge tome caught my eye. The cover had a picture of a red tartan and a clock. I read the blurb and decided to read it first. Wow, I was hooked! I never read anything like it before. I instantly became a fan. The book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

More recently I've become a fan of Carol Shields. I can't remember exactly how this came about. I think it was curiosity. She was one of those writers on everyone's list. When I saw The Stone Diaries on, I decided to give her a try. I'm so glad I did.

Can You Feel the Love?

Darling Stephanie at Confessions of a Bookaholic bestowed this award to me. I think she's the bees knees too. Thanks, Steph! Here's the explanation:

"So, the point (and I do have one) to this post is motivated by my desire to hand some of that love and kindness back around to those who have been so very, very, very good to me in this bloggy world. My hope is that those who receive this award will pass it on to those who have been very, very, very good to them as well. It's a big kiss, of the chaste platonic kind, from me to you with the underlying 'thanks' message implied. I really do appreciate your support and your friendship and yes, your comments. ... Mwah!" (actually this quote came from the original post, but you get my drift, right? )"

I was avoiding posting about this because I'm so scared I'll leave out a favorite blogger. There are so many blogs I love but to keep this list reasonable and allow other bloggers to put them on their own lists, I'll narrow it down to 5. 5 is a reasonable number ;)

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
: Teddy is a new blogger (it's about time) but she was president of my Classics Book Club for years. She's so organized! She's also been doing reviews on Amazon for awhile too so she's practically a veteran blogger.

An Adventure in Reading: Fellow Maritimer Raidergirl has terrific book taste. Because of the Something About Me Challenge and her choice of an Anne book, I'm continuing on through the Anne of Green Gables series.

The Book Mine Set: John has me (slowly) clearing the Canadian content of my bookshelves with his Canadian Book Challenge. Plus, he's a nice guy.

Scribbit: Michelle is the cool kid of the blogging world but she always makes me feel like she's talking directly to me. Not only is she super friendly but she's helpful too. I love her blog idea posts.

The Written World
: When I started blogging, I aspired to be like Kailana. Great blog, great books and great reviews!

Hope you all check out these blogs and keep on spreading the love!

Bleak House: Review

What a monster of a book! It took me a solid two months to read Dickens' Bleak House. I watched the mini-series last year on 4 DVDs, that should tell you how much there is in this book. Bleak House is quite a soap opera. Instead of revolving around the General Hospital or Brady's Pub, at it's center is the court case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce. The case is about the settlement of an estate. It's been going on for years and years with no end in sight. It's ruined the lives of all involved and those who wait for a judgement are driven to madness. The exception is John Jarndyce.

Mr Jarndyce tries to balance the evil done by the case by doing acts of kindness to all he can. At the beginning of the novel, he takes into his care two distant teenaged cousins, left orphaned and penniless until the case is settled. He also becomes the guardian to a young, neglected woman by the name of Esther Summerson. Most of the novel revolves around Esther, who is all that is good in the world. She should sing and have animated baby animals following her but instead she has a cast of quirky characters: a smitten law clerk, a ner'do well, an orphaned laundress, and the bitter daughter of a philanthropist, to name a few.

Like in all soap operas there is high drama, illicit affairs, blackmail, jealousy, disease, murder and even spontaneous combustion. Dickens balances the ridiculousness with the more serious topic of abject poverty and the sometimes ineffectiveness of charity.

There is just too much in this book to give a thorough synopsis. All I can say is that there is a lot going on and it's usually entertaining. I wasn't taken with the law aspects of the books and skimmed through most of it. It sometimes lagged but the last few chapters more than make up for it. Definitely worth reading if you like chunky books.


Also Reviewed by Darla @ Books & Other Thoughts
Puss Reboots


Booking Through Thursday

Last week we talked about the books you liked best from 2007. So this week, what with it being a new year, and all, we’re looking forward….

What new books are you looking forward to most in 2008? Something new being published this year? Something you got as a gift for the holidays? Anything in particular that you’re planning to read in 2008 that you’re looking forward to? A classic, or maybe a best-seller from 2007 that you’re waiting to appear in paperback?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

You know, I haven't given this question much thought before. I'm looking forward to reading a lot this year but I'm not sure what that will be. I'm more of a reader who enjoys walking into the bookstore without a plan. In my boring little life, this is all the excitement I get!

Although I read a lot of classics, there are a few authors, still living, who get me running to the bookstore when I hear they've published something new. If Diana Gabaldon releases anythng new, I'll be drooling over that. Ami McKay is writing The Virgin Cure. Hopefully, that will be out soon. Karen E Olson will have her latest installment of the Annie Seymour mysteries in November. Looking forward to that.

I am looking forward to reading more from authors I just discovered last year, like Heyer and Cather. Maybe I'll discover some new authors this year as well. I still have quite a few books from last year on my shelf I have yet to read. I'm up for anything!

Lost in Austen:Review

First review of the year. Wahoo! And it was a fun book. I'm really glad I read it through the holidays, when I can't concentrate on anything. Lost in Austen by Emma Webster reminded me of my childhood days when I gobbled up the Choose Your Own Adventures series. In Lost in Austen, I was Elizabeth Bennett, on the hunt for a husband. If you've read Pride and Prejudice, you know the main story, Mr Darcy and all. Here there are choices which lead to 'diversions' which follow the plot lines of other Austen novels. For instance, after a ball with Mr Darcy you may choose to visit a distant cousin who just happens to know Mr Knightley and nature takes it's course. At the end of the diversion is usually a proposal and you may accept or decline. The results are usually funny and/or bizarre. I was shocked when sweet Lizzie murdered one of her fellows!

When Lizzie takes the place of another Austen heroine, it feels a bit disconcerting, like she has Split Personality Disorder or something. But the trick is to just roll with it. There are questions for extra points during the stories that are entertaining. I didn't find the point keeping useful and stopped doing it after it became clear I was an 19th century idiot. (How do I know how many people dance in a reel?) Webster adds some of Austen's dry humour:

Congratulations! You are quite right. You are, however, boring and smug.
Deduct 100 Fortune points for being dull."

I couldn't help but laugh, though, at being scolded by Webster throughout the book.

A definite must for Austen fans.



The tree is gone. It's as if Christmas never happened. I often feel a bit of a let down after Christmas, but this year is different. Maybe it's because it seemed to have come earlier this year. Maybe it was because we had snow. Whatever it was I'm looking forward to the new year. January is like a fresh blanket of snow. No footprints. There's so much possibility. You just want to run out and make your mark. I can see why New Year's resolutions are so appealing.

My resolutions are probably like a lot of people's: get in shape, eat better. I'm also striving to finish the projects I start and try not to take on more than I can handle. Rather difficult for me, I'm afraid. And of course, read more.

Tomorrow is my blog's first anniversary. I can't believe I've been doing this for a year. I've learned so much and met so many people through blogging. It's been a great experience. I can't wait to see what the New Year brings. It's inspired me to change the look of my blog. I still have some kinks to work out though. I hope all the readers who have been kind enough to drop in and comment keep coming. Reading your comments is the best part of blogging.